Thursday, September 02, 2004

China and the Olympics

My pre-Olympic prediction that the Olympians from China would perform very well in Athens rang true. The strong medal winning performances by China and Japan make Beijing in 2008 something special. The I.O.C. President, Jocques Rogge was in agreement and spoke highly of Asian nation performances. The Athens Games is where Asia has awakened. He expects Asia to be a full strength for the Beijing Games.

The women's volleyball team from China held a practice before they played the US squad -- and they didn't even use a ball. The announcers watched the practice, 90 minutes, and not a ball to be found. Final game score, 25-18.

The divers from China are amazing. They took six out of eight gold medals. Photos from our trip are yet to go online. However, any of the 10-year old divers in Chengdu would have been able to breeze to a WPIAL diving title. And, there were 20 or more very talented, hard working kids in the pre-teen ages.

China got 31 gold in Athens, but had a goal of 20 and had 28 gold in Sydney. Japan had 16, making the best for them in 40 years. South Korea was 12th with eight golds.

Ping pong -- China got three out of four golds. After the games more ping-pong comes into the spotlight as a diplomatic tool for China and its neighbors.

In badminton, China got three of five golds.

China looms large in swimming, gymnastics, rowing, track-and-field, shooting, basketball and weightlifting. Ethiopians passed at the end of the 10K by said that they assumed they were a full lap ahead of the Chinese runner, Xing Huina (women).

Others to watch include South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan Indonesia. The South Korea women archers won an 11th straight gold -- completing a 20-year streak, unmatched in any other sport at the Olympics.

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